Reflections

When l was 8 years old, my class teacher Mrs. Nwaoha taught me the importance of merit in attaining positions whilst handing me my first experience of taking responsibilities outside my home. Her approach continues to influence my thinking to this day.

Reflections

By Adeola Aderounmu

Aadeola_March 2016

Usually l write my random reflections annually on July 12 to mark my birthday. In recent weeks l have written sporadically in this column (View from Scandinavian in the Nigeria Village Square).

I have not been able to keep to the schedule of publishing every Sunday.

There are explanations for this.

One is that sometimes one feels the urge to just take it easy during the weekend when the week days have been intensive and tiring.

Second is that sometimes l listen to the news from Nigeria or I read the newspaper and then l found out that what my friend told me is true: the more things change in Nigeria, the more they stay the same.

As a columnist it is becoming more demanding to write about Nigeria in order to keep the content fresh or valid. It is hard to do this.

The problems that Nigerian columnists wrote about in 1980 are still the same problems that we are writing about today.

Nigeria has failed to develop or evolve.

We have not been able to change or raised the standard of our discussions to issues that challenge our growth or development because Nigeria is not growing or developing in comparison to several countries with high standard of living and high life expectation.

We are stagnated on economic issues as the value of the Naira remains a disgrace to the country and the people.

In far away places including America, Nigerians have been placed in strategic positions to help the country remain progressive in various ramifications.

However in Nigeria, for more than 50 years, we convert our economic gurus and scientists to fellow political criminals as soon as they arrive on the political stage.

We don’t move forward.

In politics, at a time that the world is discussing migration politics and politics of job creation, we in Nigeria are still struggling with counting of ballot papers.

Nigeria is a disgrace to Africa when it comes to conducting elections.

Recently it was in Kogi State and last week it was in Rivers State where people in this century and age went about killing fellow human beings just because they were asked to cast their votes.

In 1980 whilst I was in primary 3 my class teacher thought it was time to appoint class representatives who would be good ambassadors of her class. She adopted the merit system.

She based her arguments on performances during classwork and related activities.

It was a peaceful exercise. l emerged as the class captain and Foluso Agboola emerged as the assistant class captain.

It probably wasn’t a democratic process but it is an integral part of democracy, that merit would be considered a factor in producing candidates.

We were rewarded with positions because we deserved it.

Before that process I had seen boys since l was 6 years old or less fighting for place and supremacy and l have no idea how or why they thought they had to fight to claim authority when they have not shown that they are responsible.

Mrs. Nwaoha cleared things in my head forever. Merit first.

In 2016 the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot conduct elections that involve ordinary counting of votes.

The people of Rivers cannot conduct themselves orderly. They went about committing murders and arsons rather then fishing out men of character and integrity like civilised people.

I weep.

In several essays l have written of the times l wept for Nigeria in my private moment and it is not a joke or make believe. Sometimes l had cleaned tear drops from my laptops.

If an x-ray can reveal a bleeding heart, the beam light should come to my chest.

Nigeria makes me sad.

Stories like those associated with the beheading of politicians and the massacres of citizens in River States are devastating to my health status.

I think about where civilisation has brought mankind and what Nigerians are doing to themselves. I’ll been insensitive and inhuman to hold back my tears.

Stories from the north are not news. The traumas of my childhood just became incurable as l wrote in a previous essay.

I don’t think that Boko Haram or terrorists (individuals or government) anywhere in the world represent the true species of humans. I long for a new biological classification of the animal kingdom. The world needs a new Carl Linnaeus.

The fuel scarcity in Nigeria is still unbelievable. Nigeria is naturally endowed with this resource. I have no words to flog the curse of the black oil. Huge disappointment for the black race is an understatement.

Power supply does not trip off in many countries around the world. Nigerians are undoubtedly among the smartest and most creative people under the sun.

Hence, it is hard to find an answer to the question: why do Nigerians have almost no electricity at all in the country?

Femi, my smart friend in Stockholm, gave an insight, it may be an answer.

He said that even if Nigeria decides to provide electricity on 100% supply mode, the infrastructures are not there to sustain it. O dear!

If that be the case, what about spending the next 2-3 years putting the infrastructure in place and constant power supply for ever more? Is that rocket science too?

I called this essay reflection and my intention was to make it short.

One can be hard on self if the issues and problems with Nigerians are taken too hard/harsh.

Whatever, it will always make me sad to see all the possibilities for growth, for development and for making Nigeria a paradise yet that the useless political class and the thieving ruling class have decided that the status quo shall be sustained.

I could definitely go on to reflect or complain. They want us to be tired of doing this. If we get tired, things might even get worse for the voiceless and the downtrodden in Nigeria.

I wish that good roads, good schools, good hospitals and modern infrastructures will be developed in every local government and every state in Nigeria.

I wish that as many people as possible will know and experience quality life style before they bid the world goodbye.

It is sad to see people who have lived all of their lives in extreme poverty whilst the country Nigeria has the potential to be the best place in the world.

The people paid severely for bad governance and mismanagement.

They are still paying and when restructuring the political system and realigning the country regionally or on true federalism are not even mentioned as probable solutions, there is little hope that we will change the lines of discussions soonest.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

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The APC Mandate: So Far, So Bad!

 

Even if the APC mandate meant well, the realities on ground in Nigeria really hurt. In the daily lives of the ordinary citizens, things continue to fall apart. Some groups like the pensioners have even disappeared from the radar of the government.

The APC Mandate: So Far, So Bad!

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola2_march.jpg

In about 2 months from now it will be one year since the APC mandate won the elections that brought it to power in Nigeria.

Unexpectedly the story has been very, very sad. So far, so bad!

I know the major arguments in favour of the APC mandate. For example we are quickly reminded that the Jonathan administration looted the treasury.

We are constantly reminded that change is gradual. We are also watching as Buhari is fighting corruption (that so far has excluded the massively corrupt APC-chieftains)

Even my close friends want me to appreciate the war on corruption albeit not perfect. I do. Ese pupo

In previous articles with the banner The APC Mandate, l have stated that there was nothing that was wrong with the Jonathan administration that the APC mandate wasn’t aware of before it took over the mandate of governance.

I have also argued that the APC mandate was aware of these problems before it promised Nigerians change.

I went further to state that considering the backdrop of the APC campaign machinery, APC politicians and tacticians ought to have taken all the challenges that they were about to face into consideration before embarking on a campaign, that now seems to be propaganda.

Today-10 months after winning a major victory at the polls-the APC central government is still mainly without direction.

Summarily, so far, the APC mandate is still a failure. It is just the way it is even if this is not what was intended.

The realities on ground in Nigeria really hurt. In the daily lives of the ordinary citizens, things continue to fall apart.

President Buhari has probably spent more time outside Nigeria than inside of it since he was pronounced the winner of the 2015 presidential election. It is now time to sit down at home and fix Nigeria.

If there is a time in Nigeria’s history when the people need empathy from the number one citizen, it is no other time than now when majority of the citizens are angry and hungry.

The level of hunger and the feeling of insufficiency in Nigeria today are unprecedented in the annals of the country.

We know that change is gradual. We know that monies were looted by Jonathan and his cronies. Who does not know that the looting had been across board since 1960?

No, we were not expecting a miracle from the APC mandate. But no one told us that things will be worse than they were 10 months ago. What did we miss when the APC took to the campaign trails?

Nigerians need to buckle up.

Crime rate may surge in the coming days. People have reached the end of the ropes and tolerance levels have reached an all time low.

The ordinary people are going about with rage, anger and huge disappointment on their faces. They are asking: is this the change?

Frustrations have reached a new high in Nigeria.

By now, it is common knowledge that petrol disappeared from the gas stations. There are more pumps in the black market than at the petrol stations. It shows how bad the government has been in managing patriotism and citizens’ roles in nation building.

The supremacy of the black market in different economic interplay speaks volume of the citizens’ non-adoption of the APC anticorruption struggle. It reflects clearly the rejection of the change slogan. This is simply failure of institutions of governance.

A few weeks ago l wrote an essay titled: We Can’t Go On Like This. I can understand when APC loyalists were quick to run to the defence of their lords. Again reality is what matters to me and today the situation has gone from bad to worse regarding the prices/costs of goods and services.

What worries me is that things are getting worse and l am yet to encounter a national, clear, easy to understand blueprint, known to all citizens on how the APC mandate intends to get Nigerians out of this mess that it inherited and bloated.

Former president, Mr. Jonathan blamed his ineptitude on previous administration before him and wasted 6 years of our lives while he and his cronies emptied the treasure monthly.

The APC mandate is blaming Jonathan and already wasting the remaining days of our lives. Unacceptable! Nonsense and ingredients!

Meanwhile workers cannot go to work everyday. They have to select the days they go to work because of the cost and difficulties of getting to work.

Students of tertiary institutions have expended their pocket monies and have to adopt on-off formulas of attending schools.

What about power supply lately? How many times have we complained about blackout? It is now worse.

I don’t understand why NEPA will be allowed to increase the tariff for electricity when power supply has not improved? It is only in Nigeria that this type of indefensible criminality of government is perpetrated against the people.

How come the APC mandate did not know that there is a need to upgrade infrastructure in the power sector. Was that not already a common knowledge?

Some of us know that the upgrade of infrastructure will definitely take years and when that is done, power supply can be improved. It is at that point that the consumers can be asked to pay more.

Now Nigerians are paying more for darkness.

You don’t have a bakery in your house but you get a bill of N10000 and electricity is not even supplied! The APC mandate is definitely perpetrating citizen defrauding.

Whose plight is not worsened since the last 10 months? Is it the pensioners who have disappeared from the radar of the APC mandate? They are not even paid any longer. Is it the unemployed whose hopes of jobs have faded into oblivion with the mass emigration of companies from Nigeria?

Civil servants now receive salaries sporadically. The calender dates are inconsequential. Yet the government continues to devise several ways to tax and impoverish the people. It is shocking!

Politicians don’t feel the problems or they pretend not to see at all which is why a fool will conclude that those complaining about the problems in Nigeria are PDP loyalists.

The wahala that continued to brew at the Senate is a discussion for another day. But it is sad that criminals occupy such positions in government. Now they hide under imported religions to tell us that women are slaves in Nigeria and cannot be equal to men.

Whatever happens, the APC mandate owes Nigeria good governance and improvement in living conditions.

The APC mandate owes Nigeria a lasting political solution.

By all means, the APC must begin to discuss how to move the different states in the country away from their parasitic existences. We need a debate on how the country can move forward and regional government and self-determination must be on the table.

There were so many promises that came with the campaigns in terms of what ordinary people will benefit.

Days have turned to months and months will soon add up to a year. If things do not improve, the APC mandate should at least prevent them from getting worse. That much the APC-mandate owes Nigeria.

Nigeria is in dire need of leaders and leadership.

We cannot go on like this..!

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Echoes Of Idiaraba

I was born after the civil war.

When l was growing up and in my formative years there was no one-teachers, counsellors or psychologists-who told us the reasons for the things that happened in northern Nigeria. Many of those things were unheard of or forbidden in western Nigeria.

The massacres, the beheading and the bloodletting just happened and became part of my/our history.

The other stories from the north like getting married to children as young as 8 years old blew my mind away forever!

Echoes Of Idi-Araba

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_March

Intro

When micro-ethnic wars break out in Nigeria, they are sometimes quickly subdued and swept under the carpet.

That (being swept under the carpet) is going to be the fate of the recent micro-ethnic war at Mile 12 in Ikorudu, Lagos.

The Nigerian government is a master of this game-pretending as if everything is alright at the surface until the next riot or violence breaks out. The response will be the same-quench it and sweep it under the carpet.

Nigeria remains a volatile country because successive government continues to push forward the days of reckoning-that-is when to actually sit down and discuss a viable and long-lasting political solution regarding the colonial debacle called Nigeria.

We have come to the realisation that Nigeria, though with the potentials of a giant, ironically remains an under-developed country as a result of several factors, not least the dearth of leadership at the center and across the states.

 

The Northern Syndrome

My phobia of the north (of Nigeria) developed when l was still in my early teenage years. Now, with the established terrorism in the north (that may soon spread to other places) and recent news of filtering in, in different forms and shades, my phobia may be incurable.

It’s sad but it’s true.

This is not the first time l’m expressing my fear and phobia of the north.

Sometimes people take your experiences and life stories with a pinch of salt. They even argue and bet that you’ll change your mind as if they are you.

The trauma of the teenage years lingers. I may go through my life cycle without ever steeping my foot on the northern part of Nigeria.

When l was growing up and in my formative years there was no one-teachers, counsellors or psychologists-who told us the reasons for the things that happened in northern Nigeria.

Many of those things were unheard of or forbidden in western Nigeria.

Did we even have counsellors or psychologists? Where were they?

The massacres, the beheading and the bloodletting just happened and became part of our history.

The other stories from the north like getting married to children as young as 8 years old blew my mind away forever!

 

The Echoes of Idiaraba

l learnt about the aberration in Yorubaland. I mean, I became more confused when several of the riots in western Nigeria were propelled by disagreements between the men from the north and local indigenes. The question of one Nigeria was laid to rest several decades ago.

So when l was studying at the postgraduate level at the College of Medicine in ldiaraba, there were some days I looked over my shoulders because of the tension between the indigenes and the men from the north or beyond the north. We found out later that Chad and Niger also invaded western Nigeria.

Sometimes l felt that the gods were with me because l’d been home when the massacres took place. But what about those whose lives were taken away just as if one was blowing up fumes from cigarettes?

The episodes have just been repeated at Mile 12, with precision!

When l served in lbadan, there were some places l never dared to disembark from the bus to even look around because my traumatic mind told me that l could be stabbed to death by the herdsmen or a collection of rioters with mixed identities.

Such was the height of my phobia.

For me, as a young boy, and then a young student, the echoes of Idiaraba are the echoes of northern Nigeria and they still make me sick.

I am aware of the pockets of violence even amongst indigenes or local gangs. They just added to the heap of confusion in the lives of an innocent teenage mind.

Sometimes l think about the post-civil war Nigeria and all the unhealed wounds. These thoughts diminish my hope for Nigeria. I am convinced that the ever-fresh Biafra struggles are closely tied to unfinished businesses.

Indeed in my adulthood l have learnt about the unusual constellation of Northern Nigeria but too sad that that the constellation won’t drive away the fears and trauma. It may be too late to help me. I don’t know.

In fairness, considering that the only place where l feel safe-western Nigeria-is under siege from time to time from herdsmen and the foreigners who have failed to respect, revere or reciprocate the hospitality of the locals/indigenes, my trauma can still be aggravated.

One can argue from now to eternity about the underlying factors that brought me to this dilemma. We can sweep issues under the carpets. We can take sides and apportion blame.

Aren’t we expert in these areas?

Our common vision reveals to us what is on the surface. They are mis-governance, poverty, ignorance, deprivation, lack of education and sometimes mis-education of the minds. The list can be grown.

Still reappearing below the surface is the complete failure of nearly all the regimes and governments of Nigeria. There also lie the fundamental questions of the political and physiological structures of Nigeria.

The failure of “governance and politics” in Nigeria is monumental!

What next?

The echoes of Idiaraba are not going to leave Nigeria soon. They reverberate with different tones along the landscape.

They resonate from Idiaraba, to Sabongarri, to Mile 12, to Sabo and everywhere across the country.

No. they won’t leave soon.

In some places these echoes are already the drums and sounds of terrorism and war.

With the drastic curtailing of the Mile 12 episode, the day of the next massacre just got pushed forward.

The usual politics may one day send Nigeria to her ultimate demise. It will be a sad day for Africa, for humanity.

The advocates of regional government or self-determination are not totally wrong. Nigeria needs a lasting and permanent political solution.

The other day, Nigeria’s almost foreign-based president, Mr. Buhari was rooting for the Palestinian agenda. I don’t know if that is contradiction or pragmatism.

One who does not propose a referendum for the Biafra state should not support the Palestinian agenda.

Anyway, there was a road Nigeria did not take. Hence we will never be able to evaluate the roles that proper governance and good leadership could have played in Nigeria as it is today.

We will not be able to answer the question: had Nigerian been governed by sensible people and responsible government, where would the country be today?

Could we have moved beyond ethnic massacres? Could we have moved beyond racial profiling within the country? Could we have relegated imported religious beliefs and local cultural differences to the background in favour of humanity and common sense?

We will never know the answers because up to this day in 2016 Nigeria is ruled by greedy, selfish, myopic and extremely wicked souls.

Nigeria is led by politicians who will acquire the latest cars in the middle of the worst economic situation in the country’s history.

Call them fools, call them idiots, call them what you like, they don’t care anymore. The redemption point got exited long, long time ago!

They’ll even loot more when you say stop. They’ll build more houses and tell you to live, fight one another and die on the streets, you wretched citizens!

I don’t know who to turn to.

But l’ll try the Lagos state government and the custodians of western Nigeria: please take major proactive steps to ensure the safety of lives and property of all the citizens of Nigeria living in your domain.

Some short films emanating from the recent micro-ethnic wars revealed a lot about the extremely low standard of living and poverty in that part of Lagos.

Please do what you can to provide more employment opportunities, basic education, basic housing, basic infrastructure, possibilities for sport and other extra-curricular activities. They are urgent steps that could avail much.

Don’t forget that the farm settlement schemes will be a big boost for western Nigeria! Please start and develop it in earnest, or boost the existing ones, both private and public.

Youth empowerment, community-based mentorship and leadership programs should not be overlooked.

In our hope and dream of a better Nigeria based on integrated regionalism and a greater Africa the peaceful coexistence of the people will play a pivotal role.

Maybe if the right leadership comes someday, the future generation will radiate the ancient glory of regionally integrated Africa.

aderounmu@gmail.com